Whistleblowing, the Eternal Dilemma
Deciding to be a whistleblower is a very important and serious decision since it normally implies reporting some kind of wrongdoing within their organization.
One of the most common question they wonder is ‘Should I report this internally or to the authorities?’
The answer is, it depends.
Type of wrongdoing. If you believe someone is in danger, wait no further since talking to the authorities in undoubtedly the fastest way in such cases. Offenses like bribery and corruption may hide labour or human rights violations. Time is very important in these cases.
Approach toward compliance. In general it’s relatively easy finding out if a company is committed:
- compliance program,
- whistleblowers hotline/channel,
- anti retaliation policy
Are, amongst the others, elements that we should find in every organization. That said is what happens after having spoken up that really determines seriousness toward compliance (you may wish to read Whistleblowing? Consider This…).
Responsiveness. As pointed out just above, any organization must deal with allegations in a timely and professional manner; oftentimes, at least at the very beginning, the whistleblower may be unaware of any ongoing internal investigation. Nonetheless, if the situation stay silent for too long, that should be a red flag.
Needless to say, any form of retaliation should be equally forbidden.
Bringing It All Together. As you may have noticed, I didn’t mention the possibility of receiving an award from relevant authorities. This because I decided to focus on the substance of whistleblowing rather than on other aspects which need to be evaluated on case by case basis.
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